Syrniki – Russian style ricotta cheese pancakes

To go with the Sbiten, I made Syrniki..or Sirniki – pronounced as ‘sihr-NEE-kee’. This is a classic Russian dish that can be served as a savory breakfast, topped with sour cream or a sweet snack/dessert topped with confectioners sugar or jam. It is essentially a ‘fried cheesecake’, or a ‘cheese pancake’ sortof. It is usually made out of Russian cottage cheese called ‘tvorog’.

‘Tvorog’ is a tangy creamy textured cheese, that is not available in regular grocery stores. It may be available in specialty Russian stores, but the usual substitute is cottage cheese and sometimes ricotta cheese. To get the tanginess, sour cream or yogurt is usually combined with the cheese. I had some ricotta leftover from making my Strawberry Ricotta Breakfast cakes and I decided to use it take a trip to Russia. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 cup of ricotta cheese

1/4 cup of plain low fat yogurt

1 extra large egg

5 tsp sugar

4 tbsp flour

pinch of salt

1 tsp orange zest (optional)

oil for frying

powdered sugar for garnish

Method:

Squeeze the ricotta cheese using paper towels, to remove all the moisture.  Set the yogurt to drain in a paper towel lined sieve for about 1 hour. In a bowl, beat the egg , sugar and salt until foamy. Add the cheese, yogurt and flour. Finally, add the orange zest. You can use a blender or food processor to make this mixture also. The texture of the mixture is some what inbetween a dough and a batter.  You an let it rest for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours at this point.

Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium high heat, with about 2 tbsp oil  for a couple of minutes. At the same time, preheat he oven to 200 degrees.(optional step to keep the syrniki warm). Either shape the dough into patties, like making vadas or drop them by the rounded tbsp into the oil. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom, about 1 minute. Turn and cook until the other side is brown.

Serve warm with a dusting of confectioners sugar.

Verdict: The syrniki were creamy and luscious, but not too sweet. The orange zest was my own additon to the syrniki batter, and it added a nice touch to them. The rich syrniki was a good combination with the spicy warm Sbiten. We enjoyed our trip to Russia, with our tea, and teatime snack.

As with the Sbiten, this is my entry to AWED –  Russia.

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